#NotYourPorn - abuse on porn platforms must be prosecuted

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Thousands of women are being abused, hacked and exposed on the Internet right this second.  Public porn platforms like PornHub and xHamster allow it. The police and public prosecutors know about it, but they look away. We demand that porn platforms must take responsibility and those affected are finally helped!

We are Anna and Nicole. Intimate images of us naked appeared on the internet without our knowledge and against our will, with highly personal information - our real names and where we live - attached. So-called “exposer networks” hack our devices and spread our most private moments online, posting pictures and videos as collages, along with judgemental captions. 

These exposer networks operate globally, and consist of loose associations of complete strangers, angry ex-partners and the misogynist Incel-movement. Incels (abbreviation f. involuntary celibataires/involuntary abstainers) blame self-confident, self-determined women for their own lack of sex life and the problems of the world in general. 

Because of them and their twisted schemes, one of us got messages from school friends who told us that they found our naked bodies on xHamster, while the other’s spouse was confronted with it. To this day dickpics land in our inboxes, we’re send rape fantasies from strangers, and, as a result, we have to search Google for our nude pictures again, battling the panic attack rising in our bodies.

Right this second, tens of thousands of women are hacked and their naked images leaked online. Other women are secretly filmed, or their pictures are taken from Instagram, and uploaded into galleries on porn sites so that men can use them as a “jerk-off template” - some of them filming themselves, or so they can scribble the most derogatory insults as comments. Men are affected, too, especially members of the LGBTQ+ community. Adults are raped, and these videos are uploaded. This happens to children as well. 

Despite this clear and violent violation, we - and those affected - don’t get the support of the police or the public prosecutor's office, who are meant to be trained to help. Instead, we’ve heard advice like "try calling Google" or "just double check you didn’t upload them somewhere yourself". Even if investigations are opened, they more-often-than-not fail due to the public prosecutor's office, many stating a lack of public interest as a reason to halt cases. The consequence is that very few perpetrators are held responsible, despite the scale of these crimes. In Nicole’s case, 2,700+ offences were committed by over 100 user accounts, and nothing has been done.

Porn platforms rarely react appropriately, especially when they’re not being held accountable by investigating authorities. In the best case, they delete the content once, but do nothing to prevent it from being re-uploaded. In the worst case, there’s no possibility to contact them and thus the content stays where it is. 

These companies are making money from men getting off on us - they have no incentive to change their behaviour. Meanwhile, we are left to explain the situation to our families, friends and employers that our naked images are somewhere on the internet. 

As you may imagine, those affected suffer from anxiety disorders, depression, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts. We have had enough! Along with HateAid, Anna Nackt and Am I in Porn, we demand an end to prosecutors, platforms and legislators turning a blind eye to this behaviour.

Our cases are in no way isolated, and in no way the worst. This is why we need effective mechanisms to give those affected the power to defend themselves and enforce their rights. At the same time, there is a need for law enforcement agencies that fully apply the applicable law, and treat those affected with the necessary seriousness and empathy they deserve. 

We demand from legislators, law enforcement and porn platforms:

1. a clear legal basis is needed to make porn platforms take responsibility
Porn platforms must be unequivocally included in the scope of the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG), although they are aimed at the distribution of "specific content" in the sense of § 1 (1) NetzDG. For example, they would be obliged to provide a contact person in Germany.

Porn platforms with < 2 million domestic users should also be covered by this and, among other things, be obliged to delete all content reported as abusive within 24 hours. This is the only way to reduce the distribution of private content, and thus the drastic impact on those affected

Porn platforms must be subject to an obligation to provide information to the persons concerned, which can be enforced by means of urgent legal protection. This will enable those affected to defend themselves against the perpetrators.

Porn platforms must be obligated to check picture and video material internally before publication to prevent illegal and deleted content from being uploaded again.

2. improvements in criminal law are needed so that those affected can take action against the perpetrators, including
Removal of § 201a StGB from the circle of private prosecution offences in order to prevent public prosecutors from referring to the private prosecution route. Closing of gaps in criminal liability.

3. there is a need for more training and better technical equipment for the police, judiciary and state-funded aid agencies, e.g.Increased training and sensitization of investigative authorities in dealing with victims of digital violence. More training for investigating authorities, enabling them to prosecute crime on the Internet using technology. This requires appropriate IT equipment.

A large part of our society has understood that a woman who wears a short skirt so that no one has the right to touch her or even rape her. Now we have to accept that a person with a privately taken photo or video gives no one the right to distribute it. The police, law enforcement and porn platforms must finally prosecute and convict the perpetrators!